If you are looking for fruit and vegetable powders, it may not necessarily occur to people to consider bananas. This is not just because we are all familiar with this curved yellow fruit in its natural form on the shelves of supermarkets and greengrocers’, but because not everyone is aware that it has serious superfood credentials.
Bananas are certainly – pardon the pun – ahead of the curve when it comes to fun facts. The banana tree, for instance, is the largest herb on earth. It also comes in more than one form, with plantains having less sugar and a more savoury taste.
Another remarkable fact about bananas is that they are very slightly radioactive. This is because they contain potassium, which includes isotobe-40. Some might think this sounds scary, but the amount emitted is tiny, about the same as a dental X-ray.
To put it in perspective, the average natural radiation Britons are exposed to each year is worth 200 bananas, while a fatal radiation dose would require you to eat half a million bananas in a single sitting. Good luck finding an oven that can make a banoffee pie that big.
In reality, bananas actually have less potassium – and thus less radioactivity – than many other kinds of fruit and veg. It is just that bananas are informally used as a measurement of radiation, but generally to put in perspective just how low (and harmless) its level can be.
However, the potassium itself is a key element that makes this a superfood. The mineral helps your organs work better, reduces blood pressure, lessens the chance of strokes and prevents kidney stones. Potassium also helps maintain your fluid balance and controls nerve signals and muscle contractions. The fact that bananas have loads of this yet so little salt makes them a superfood.
The potassium content is only one of the great credentials lurking under that yellow peel. They are great at providing a source of high energy that your body can convert fast. That means if you need to fuel your body for strenuous activity, such as a gym session, a long run or a big day out hiking in the countryside.
Bananas are also great after you eat them too, as they help thicken your stomach’s mucous barrier to protect against acids and reduce bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers.
They even help when you are in bed at night too, as they contain the amino acid tryptophan. This helps increase serotonin production to enable you to sleep better.
If all this wasn’t enough, bananas are high in fibre and contain both Vitamin C and Vitamin B6.
Will all these great elements, it’s no bad thing that bananas can be consumed in so many ways, from being included in fruit puddings through to being a standalone treat you can just unzip and eat. Banana powder adds another great option to this, as you can add it to lots of other foods, bake it in your cakes and biscuits, or pop it into smoothies and shakes.
As it’s such a versatile superfood, there’s every reason to go bananas for it.